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By Omar S. Omar

The essence of this short article is to reveal the mystery of a man named “Munye Abdalla (Aka Eng. Munye Sanweyne)”. Lately we read and heard about this character, but unfortunately the majority of the readers might not be even familiar to who this individual is?

Mr. Munye Sanweyne returned to Mogadishu from Middle East in 1980's shortly after his brother Said Marino became the commander of the Marines in Somalia . Because of his brother's connection to the influential members of the ruling family, he was appointed to head FONDI AIUTI ITALIANI (FAI). FAI was Italian government funded international development program that was ostensibly designed to assist the developmental needs of third world countries, including Somalia . However, politics played a major role in the funding policy of this program in the sense that only Italian companies with political ties to the then governing Socialist Party of Italy were awarded all contracts pertaining to these program. Moreover, an essential feature of the implementation of these projects entails rampant corruption involving massive monitory kickbacks on the part of the Italian companies and in collision with third world officials who were running the programs on the ground in their countries. Well, Mr. Munye Sanweyne was our man on the ground in the 80's who was managing all the FAI projects which included the extension of the freeway running from Afgoi to Kismayo and also the one from Galkacyo to Bossaso whose estimated expenditure was in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars. It should also be noted that he through kickbacks and embezzlement had enriched himself unconscionably and that should be a matter of debate among the Somali public now that we are establishing a government that stressed the need for transparency and accountability. The whole purpose of the extension of the freeways and the reason the funds were allocated for the project by the Italian taxpayers was to facilitate the movements of goods and services faster so that our economic lot will improve. It was by no means projected to be funneled into the back pockets of corrupt officials and their families.

At the time when all Somalis were watching closely every single movements of the ruling family, Munye was a perfect fit for this position because of his Bravanese origin; most Somali's believed he was himself a victim. Within a short period of time, Eng. Munye Sanweyne has extended his sphere of influence by getting further appointments to head government owned Fishing Company (Shifco) and Gisoma.

However, the USC movement has shortly interrupted his dreams. In fact right at the start of the USC war in Mogadishu, Munye escaped to Barawe and immediately contacted via radio one of the captains of the Ships of the fishing company to stay in alert and rescue him in case that becomes inevitable. Individuals who were close to him at that period still recall his agony and his lack of sleep. During the nighttime he slept under his bed with bodyguards surrounding every spot of the building and during the daytime he used to visit the cemeteries constantly praying for the survival and the victory of the ailing government. As the situation got worse and the hope for the government faded he and his family escaped to Mombasa , Kenya . From there he moved the Somali Ships to Yemen , where he established close relationship with the Yemeni government. In the last 15 years he robbed all the revenue generated by the Shifco Fishing Company which is estimated to be in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Although he is fulltime engaged in managing the Fishing Company, on the other hand though, Mr. Sanwyne has never taken his eyes away from the Somali political process. The record shows that he has attended all the 14 reconciliation conferences. Interestingly each time Eng, Munye had close ties to a different warlord. He corrupted some of the most powerful warlords of the nation; however, since the rise of RRA to power Eng. Sanweyne has switched his strategy and discovered, Mr. Mohamed Nur (Shatigaduud) who apparently according to his record seemed easy to manipulate with small amount of monitory kickbacks. In fact Eng. Munye was baptized by Mr. Shatigaduud as a member of Digil/Mirifle tribe and illegally bought a seat in the newly formed parliament, deliberately breaking article 30 of the new charter of the Transitional Federal Government. As a matter of fact there is a motion in the new parliament to discuss the legitimacy of Munye as Member of new Parliament, since he robbed a seat assigned to a tribe that he does not belong to. Shatigaduud was the man behind this injustice. He did the similar things in ARTA, Djibouti .

It is my understanding that Eng. Sanweyne is lobbying for a cabinet position in the new government. His major objective is to have a big say in the new administration so the he can continue manipulating high ranking officials and keep stealing further. I have to admit that no one has the right to oppose him seeking a position in the new government provided that he is a clean and honest citizen. However, this is an individual who is persistently stealing hundreds of millions of our money while the majority of the citizens are suffering for hunger and diseases, such as tuberculosis and AIDS. It is worth noting though that he is not in a class by himself, but that there are numerous other individuals like him in the new parliament that have unsavory public or private past and they should all be exposed if our society wants to turn a new page. It is immoral to sit and watch individuals like him get away with everything. As I alluded in the title of this article, the character “Munye Sanweyne” will be a litmus test to the new transitional federal government of Somalia .

In order to earn public trust the new Somali government will need to establish an independent committee to collect the stolen money of the nation deposited in overseas accounts. It is very imperative to give this issue a high priority; because it will help the new government to start quickly providing some of the badly needed basic services to the citizens once this huge amount of money is recovered. The new government of Somalia could ask the Kenyan Government to place Eng. Munye Sanweyne into custody until he provides the information to the whereabouts of the hundreds of millions of dollars he stole from Shifco fishing company for the last 15 years. This move will also send a strong signal to those corrupt individuals who have plans in their mind to loot the country in the future. I recommend every Somali citizen not to lose an eye to this matter and if the new government does nothing, I will ask courageous Somalis to join me in pursuing Eng. Munye to justice. The money belongs to the Somali taxpayers and we will challenge him to court until he returns it to the country.

After 15 years of misery and chaos the public is looking for a fresh start. It will be very disappointing to witness individuals, such as Mr. Sanweyne sitting in the cabinet of this new administration.

Mr. Munye Sanweyne resides in Yemen and visits often London , UK where his family lives. We will organize a campaign to expose him to the eyes of the British taxpayers if the new government avoids addressing the will of the public. My major concern though is that the public is blind and tolerant about the long tradition of corruption in our political and social system.

We could only build a stronger Somalia by combating institutionalized corruption that has deep roots in our system and society as well. The Somali media although in its infancy should begin exposing corruption to the public. Historically, it has been the most effective way to combat corruption and injustice. Courageous journalists, reporters risked their life to expose corruption and an injustice occurring in their country and that is what we need. Let us follow their footsteps. God Bless Somalia !

Omar S. Omar
[email protected]


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